English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist, Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most famous scientists of all time. He is renowned for producing the single most influential book on physics ever written, The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, but not many people know that discovering why apples fell from trees and changing the way we understand the universe were not the only problems he dealt with…
Newton and the Counterfeiter
In 1695, The Royal Mint discovered that a large number of the UK’s circulating coins were fake. In fact, 10% of England’s coinage was known to be phony. Unable to keep up with the increasing intelligent counterfeiting methods they turned to England’s ‘brightest mind’ for help.
Sir Isaac Newton was appointed warden of The Royal Mint, with a sole purpose of enforcing laws against counterfeiting.
Most counterfeits were easy targets for Newton, but one man in particular kept eluding his grasp – William Chaloner.
Chaloner was a nail maker by trade but found a more worthwhile application for molten metals. The counterfeiter’s self-made wealth enabled him to pose in a way that matched his intellect.
Newton wanted nothing more than to finish Chaloner. He went into full detective-mode.
Newton constructed a strong case, using his network of informants and spies around London in a systematic way to form a complete representation of Chaloner’s actions. He even went undercover himself to obtain evidence from witnesses at pubs around the city. By the time the trial came, he had gathered eight witnesses.
The treason charge stuck – on March 3rd 1699, William Chaloner was sentenced to hang.
Later that year, Newton was made the Master of the Mint, a position he would hold until his death in 1727.
Master of the Mint
Newton took up his duties with effect from Christmas Day 1699. Immediately his active involvement in the affairs of The Royal Mint became undoubtable, he took the role very seriously before retiring from his duties at Cambridge in 1701.
He survived the political upheavals of those distressing times and in 1705 he was knighted by Queen Anne, making him just the second scientist ever to be knighted.
The first gold standard
During his role as Master of the Mint, Sir Isaac Newton wrote a report to the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury, as a result the relationship between gold and silver coins was forever changed by Royal proclamation at the end of 1717. It forbid the exchange of gold Guineas for more than 21 silver shillings. This meant that silver coins were being used to pay for imports, subsequently Britain saw a silver shortage – effectively moving the country from the silver standard to its first gold standard.
His Legacy to our coinage
As a result of Newton’s vision, coins struck by The Royal Mint remain unrivalled in their accuracy and purity. He helped to make Britain’s currency one of the most respected and admired in the world. As one of the most famous figures to ever hold the role of Master of the Mint and author of the single most influential book on physics ever written it is entirely appropriate he is celebrated on a UK coin.
If you’re interested…
A brand new UK 50p coin has just been issued by The Royal Mint to commemorate the 375th anniversary of Sir Isaac Newton’s birth and his outstanding legacy.
You can own one today.
Four new Beatrix Potter 50p silver coins have been revealed by The Royal Mint. Benjamin Bunny, Mr. Jeremy Fisher, and Tom Kitten all feature for the first time on UK coinage – whilst Peter Rabbit scampers back onto our currency for the second year in a row.
The four coins issued in 2016 created a collecting frenzy, crashing The Royal Mint’s website and selling out within days. And these new character coins are just as cute, just as evocative, and importantly – just as collectable.
Here’s a first look at the new silver coins, with details of when they are available…
2017 Peter Rabbit 50p
Everyone’s favourite mischievous bunny is back – pictured in a familiar pose dashing away… presumably from Mr McGregor’s garden.
Probably Beatrix Potter’s most familiar character, the coin is bound to be sought-after.
Last year’s Silver Proof Peter Rabbit coloured coin now changes hands on Ebay for up to £400, underlining its collectability.
2017 Mr. Jeremy Fisher 50p
This silver 50p, due to be released in June, pictures the unlucky frog Mr. Jeremy Fisher – who only wanted to catch some fish for dinner for his friends but ends up almost being eaten by a trout.
Each of the Silver Proof editions is limited to just 30,000 coins. Given the level of demand for last year’s series this may well not be enough for everyone that wants one.
2017 Tom Kitten 50p
Available late July, the Tom Kitten Silver 50p features the original illustration from the front cover of Beatrix Potter’s book. The naughty kitten appeals to children everywhere with his antics and is another favourite character from the series.
All four coins have been struck to a fine ‘proof finish.’ It really brings the designs to life – and is often referred to as ‘the collector’s favourite’ due the high level of craftmanship required to achieve the result.
2017 Benjamin Bunny 50p
The last coin to be made available (slated for September) introduces another of the Rabbit family. Benjamin Bunny is Peter’s Cousin and leads him on another jaunt into Mr. McGregor’s garden. The illustration featured on the coin is taken from the original front cover.
I’m sure you’ll agree, these four coins are the perfect continuation of the series, and really capture the nostalgic charm of Beatrix Potter’s original stories.
But if there’s one lesson you can take from last year, make sure you get yours early – before they sell out!
The Royal Mint have released 1.4 billion brand new £1 coins into circulation in what is the single biggest change to the UK’s coinage since decimalisation.
It is, of course, a much anticipated day for coin collectors keen to own one of the first coins. But with enough £1 coins entering circulation for everyone in the population to own more than £20’s worth, the standard circulation coin will be two a penny – well at least two a pound.
That’s why serious collectors are looking to mark this numismatic milestone with something a bit more special – one of the collector editions being released by The Royal Mint, several of which have edition limits that seem certain to sell out quickly.
Here’s your guide to the most collectable versions of the new 12-sided £1 coin.
Perfect Quality. Very Affordable.
Of course, quality is everything for coin collectors, which is why The Royal Mint is producing a collector quality base metal version of the new 12-sided £1 coin. Unlike the coins you’ll find in your change, these pieces have been specially struck and carefully handled to ensure that they remain free of the scratches and chips found amongst their circulating counterparts.
Known as Brilliant Uncirculated (BU), they are available for £9.99 in a Royal Mint Presentation Pack or £5.99 in a Change Checker Certified Brilliant Uncirculated Collector Card.
Silver Proof – the Collector’s Favourite
Perhaps the most important of the Collector Editions is the Silver Proof £1 Coin. Silver Proof coins have all of the qualities that collectors really desire.
- Precious metal content – struck from 925/1000 Sterling Silver with 24 Carat Gold-plate to create the outer ring.
- Strict Limited Edition – just 25,000 individual coins. That’s HALF the number of Silver Proof £1 Coins that were issued for the original Round £1 Coin in 1983.
- Perfect Proof Finish – even better than Brilliant Uncirculated, Proof coins are struck several times using specially polished dies to create a flawless finish with a perfect mirrored background and frosted design. The ultimate in coin quality.
Double the thickness. More than five times as limited.
For silver collectors looking for something even more collectable, the double thickness Piedfort edition is likely to be the first of the £1 sell-outs.
That’s because collectors not only own a rare double-thickness new £1 coin but there are just 4,5000 of them – less than five times the maximum mintage for the standard £1 silver proof.
The Gold Standard
For the ultimate limited edition, you can own the Gold Proof £1 Coin. Struck from 22 Carat Gold with a red gold outer ring, just 2,017 single coins have been authorised for issue.
Due to its very limited nature, we will contact you directly to discuss owning the Gold Proof £1 Coin if you are interested – please complete the form below.
Sign up here if you would like to be contacted about the Gold edition:
If you’re interested…
You can own one of the special Collector Edition 12-Sided £1 Coins today, click here to view the full range.